The opening sequence of Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell literally smacks you in the face with the director’s penchant for the fantastically disgusting and spiritually perverse. For Raimi fans relegated to watching Spider-Man films for the better part of this decade, this ghastly bludgeoning is not only a treat, it’s the point. Above all else, Drag Me is a vehicle for the director to flex his horror muscle, and oh what a muscle it is.
The story here is pretty thin. After Christine Brown, a wholesome, farm-bred loan officer played by Alison Lohman, refuses an extension on an elderly gypsy woman’s mortgage, the delinquent client curses our young heroine. From there, Christine is tormented by an evil spirit which will supposedly, you guessed it, drag her to hell in three days. She meets a fortune teller, obviously, who helps her along until he has to call on the services of an even more powerful mystic. Plot is not this film’s strong suit; we’re talking boiler plate supernatural scary stuff here. Believe it or not, that’s okay, in fact, I prefer it.
In recent years, the American horror space has grown rather stale. If it’s not another glammed up Japanese import, a pulverizing ninety-odd minutes of torture porn, or a franchise reboot that no one asked for, it probably hasn’t made it’s way to the mainstream in the past few years. An important contributor to the horror revolution that took place here in the 1980s, Mr. Raimi appears to have taken note of the dearth of creativity in his beloved genre. The skeleton of a plot in _Drag Me to Hell _affords him the leg room to build gloriously bloody sequences.
Mr. Raimi is taking us to school, showing us how to make a frightening piece with the most basic of tools at his disposal. Sure, there are a plenty of digital effects in the film, but rarely are they they the centerpiece of any one scene. Instead, gory makeup, well-paced editing and ephemeral sound effects are used to keep the audience on its toes. On display are some of the oldest tricks in the book, just executed masterfully.
Drag Me to Hell is a great ride that must be experienced in the theater. Aurally, this film is beyond compare, so get the wax out of your ears and listen up. Sam Raimi has crafted a cinematic tour-de-force that keeps you laughing while turning your insides out. Don’t miss out on all of the slimy, mucusy fun.